Growing High Tunnel Ginger in High Tunnels: A Niche Crop with Market Potential

Reza Rafie, Theresa Nartea, Chris Mullins

Abstract


Recent media promotion of health attributes of ginger (Zingiber officinale) root as a functional and nutraceutical food has led to increasing consumer and health community marketplace demand. In 2011, the U.S. imported 49,991,000 t of ginger valued at 55.9 million dollars. Medical research demonstrated ginger consumption was a safe remedy for: 1) nausea in chemotherapy treatments of cancer patients; 2) morning sickness treatment during pregnancy; and 3) antiinflammation treatment for arthritis ailments. Hawaii is the only commercial producer of ginger in the United States. Ginger production in Hawaii is on the decline due to ginger wilt caused by the bacterium Ralstonia solanacearum. Ginger represents a potential niche crop for U.S. farmers outside of Hawaii. Ginger rhizomes require a tropical growing season of 9 to 10 months, liminating successful field production in non-temperate climatic conditions. To address this production challenge, Virginia State University researchers conducted Extension demonstrations in Cologne and Petersburg, VA to produce and market ginger grown under high tunnel culture. Preliminary results demonstrate that locally grown, high tunnel ginger is a profitable niche crop for direct-to-consumer markets.


Keywords


Zingiber officinale, Ralstonia solanacearum, baby ginger, high tunnel, functional food, nutraceutical

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Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc.     ISSN 0886-7283